Turning recyclables into art demonstrated in Port Ludlow

PORT LUDLOW — Sylvia White wonders: Why throw stuff away when you can make art with it?

White learned much about recycling during the 1960s and ’70s, when she lived in Ghana and then Tanzania. She went over with the Peace Corps and came back with a refreshed appreciation for underappreciated materials.

“They don’t throw anything away in Africa,” said the Port Townsend artist, who will give a basketmaking demonstration at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Olympic Room at the Inn at Port Ludlow, 1 Heron Road.

At the Port Ludlow Artists League meeting — open to the public — White will teach attendees how to weave a basket out of newspaper, and how to see “trash” differently.

Guests pay $5, or they may choose to become members of the league for $30 in annual dues.

White’s demonstration is based on a basket she made out of a painting a league member gave her. She cut up the painting and wove the strips into a colorful creation.

She’s been making art for 35 years — switching from natural materials to recyclables a dozen years ago. She now uses things she finds on her travels in and around town, from damaged copper pieces to discarded window blinds. The plastic kind are preferable to the aluminum, White noted.

“It’s a dollar for 108 of them,” she said of the blinds, which she finds at stores such as Waste Not Want Not. Waste Not has two locations, at 1532 Sims Way in Port Townsend and at 724 E. First St. in Port Angeles.

When building art from recyclables and castoff materials, “I experiment. If [the pieces] work, I do more of them.”

In some of White’s newer works, sensuously shaped natural materials such as driftwood are paired with shiny metals, computer parts and other industrial stuff. She’ll bring some of her baskets to show during Wednesday’s meeting.

Others are on display at the Port Townsend Gallery, 715 Water St., in Port Townsend.

For more details about the Port Ludlow Artists League program, phone President Wanda Mawhinney at 360-437-9081 or email mawhinneyw_w@msn.com.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at diane.urbani@


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